In most cases a defendant is entitled to post bail in order to secure their release while charges are pending. In what are considered “minor offenses” a person charged with a fourth degree, disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons’ offense shall not be required to post bail exceeding $2,500 unless the Court finds that the person presents a serious threat to physical safety or there are other circumstances which would not reasonably insure the appearance of the person in Court as required. N.J.S.A. 2C:6-1. In all other cases involving serious crimes, a person is entitled to apply for bail upon arrest and while charges are pending and the Court will consider such application with a view toward ensuring that the defendant will be present in Court as required.
Generally, the Court will consider the following factors in deciding on bail:
- The seriousness of the crime,
- defendant’s criminal history;
- defendant’s reputation in the community;
- the length of defendant’s residence in the community;
- defendant’s family ties and relationships;
- defendant’s employment status and financial condition;
- the identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for defendant’s reliability; and
- any other factors bearing on whether or not the defendant is a risk for failure to appear.
The Court can establish such conditions and restrictions on bail as it deems appropriate in each case. If charged with a serious crime, it is important to make a bail application immediately. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist with that application or file an appropriate motion to reduce the amount of bail or the conditions set on bail while the charges are pending. For this reason, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing any type of bail issue.